March 26, 2018
It’s no surprise that the rise of the internet in the mid-1990’s has fundamentally changed the way Americans live, work and communicate. Adapting and connecting to this new, digital reality has meant large-scale investment (to the tune of $1.6 trillion dollars) by America’s broadband providers, who work hard each day to ensure that everyone has access to fast and reliable internet service. According to a new report out by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the digital economy has been growing at triple the pace of U.S. GDP. To ensure that those in rural and unserved areas don’t get left out of this growth, continued investment in the buildout and upgrade of our broadband networks has never been more important as this transition accelerates.
The report shows the sector, which includes network infrastructure, e-commerce and digital media, accounted for $1.2 trillion, or 6.5 percent, of gross domestic product in 2016, edging out more traditional industries like agriculture, mining, transportation, construction and hospitality. In the same year, the digital economy supported nearly six million jobs, whose workers earned over $114,000 on average per year, compared to $66,500 for the average worker in the U.S.
The internet has revolutionized our economy, leading to the greatest transfer of wealth, goods and services in human history. From its outsized economic impact to the well-paying jobs it creates, the digital economy is fast becoming a beacon of American innovation. Continued support and investment in broadband networks—the literal backbone of our digital lives—is needed now more than ever to ensure that this innovation continues to drive economic and social progress well into the future.